A consortium of high-profile creative industry figures including songwriters and producers Max Martin and Savan Kotecha have backed Obayaty, a new beauty line specifically designed for men.
The founders are Anna Ryott, Lajjo Strand, Pontus Frankenstein and Martin, who is best known for creating chart-topping pop songs such as Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time.” Unlike most male-focussed lines that simply offer skincare, the line features colour cosmetics in bold shades as well as skin-perfecting products.
Launching today direct-to-consumer and with Selfridges and etailer Voo Store, the 7-piece product lineup includes eye pencils, highlighter and concealer, with prices starting at $27 for nail polish. A wider rollout into Neiman Marcus is forthcoming.
It’s a bold gambit. While the potential value of the male beauty sector has been pegged at $150 billion by investment firm Bernstein, no singular brand has yet to command aggressive market share. Last month, the men’s skincare line Disco went bankrupt. Western men especially remain slow to adopt new grooming practices. However, Strand, who is also chief operations officer, said he sees an opportunity to create behavioural change as he believes cultural attitudes towards male beauty have progressed.
”My father would say to me as a child, ‘be a man’. I have three sons. I can’t say that to them, I say, ‘Be you’,” he said.
Ryott, who also serves as chief executive, said that their wholesale launch was targeted around stores “deeply rooted in contemporary fashion and contemporary culture,” and that they chose a global rollout with a focus on “big, progressive” cities such as Berlin, London and New York, which they perceive to have a better market fit with Obayaty. While all the founders are new to beauty, Strand has digital marketing experience from his time at H&M and Daniel Wellington, while Frankenstein has worked as a creative director for the likes of Acne.
Aside from marketing solely to men, versus unisex, Frankenstein said the team made the design – which is sleek and predominantly metal – a strong focus to incentivise men to touch and experiment with the products, which are largely refillable.
The brand has a number of investors, both in angels such as Martin and Kotecha and the venture capital fund CC.VC, which describes itself as “climate-focussed.””If we can lower the threshold to entry, and [for men] start to explore beauty, it builds competence, confidence and behaviour change,” said Frankenstein.
Bankrupt Men’s Skincare Brand Disco Shutters
Disco, a male-focused skincare brand founded by entrepreneur Benjamin Smith, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Nov. 16, shuttering the brand.